By: Heidi Bechard

My stomach growls in a room full of strangers.

…and of course the room is silent.
The kind of silent that makes your ears ring.

Some try to ignore it
‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎Secondhand embarrassment is still embarrassment.

I feel it on them — a relief they aren’t me
Others shift in their seat and glance in my direction.

Don’t fucking look at me. Haven’t you ever been hungry?
Haven’t you ever not wanted eyes on you?

I can feel my stomach gearing up to get the room’s attention again, so I
‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎shift in my seat to muffle the sound.
‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎I can feel it coming.


Here come the eyes again.

Heidi Bechard is a teacher and writer living in southwest Missouri. Poetry is her passion. You can find her on Twitter @HeidiBechard. 

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